Researching your family is very different today than it was when I started my research in 1998. It hard to remember a time when the records available on the internet were very few. Census records and obituaries, were searched using a microfilm reader in the local library or family history center. The massive amount of information that is now being published for online research is amazing, and the sites that provide us with free online viewing and searching is a great way to jump-start your research. I encourage you to search through the websites that I have included below. Check back often as I will add to this list as I discover new sites.
- books.google.com A great resource for out of print books, or even locating books still in print that may contain information about your ancestors.
- FamilySearch has a treasure trove of documents online for Wisconsin. Some have been indexed, some just searchable, but be sure to take a look. Click on Search, then scroll to the bottom to click on United States, then click on Wisconsin.
- Historical Atlases and Maps of the United States shows county boundary changes, and all of the county boundaries for each census year.
- Google.com. Don’t forget that the web changes on a second by second basis. Always remember to search for the surnames, cities and towns of your ancestors. You just never know what might show up!
- The Wisconsin Historical Society is rich with free online resources, plus the opportunity to purchase materials at a reasonable cost.
- Wisconsin Photographers. Do you have a photograph you are trying to date that has a photographers stamp? The Wisconsin Historical Society has compiled an index of over 7,000 photographers and when they were active in Wisconsin. The index covers the years 1840 to 1976, and can be found here: https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Article/CS3528
- Langdon’s List of 19th & Early 20th Century Photographers: https://www.langdonroad.com
Maps and Atlases
- The Wisconsin Historical Society has an extensive Map and Atlas collection all online. Including the 1917 Standard Atlas of Outagamie County, Wisconsin : Including a Plat Book of the Villages, Cities and Townships of the County. [Note links change often, but this is how WHS has titled the book]
- The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
- Google Earth is a lot of fun to play with. Check out Lisa Louise Cooke and her Genealogical Gems website where she has lots of information to get you started.
- The Outagamie County website has a wonderful Historic Maps collection to download for Outagamie County. This site includes the original map of Appleton, published in 1872 by John Stephens. The Wisconsin Historical Society has what looks like a beautifully scanned copy of this map that is also available for download.
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are available at the Library of Congress website.
- The website for the city of Neenah now includes the 1884 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for the city as an overlay onto todays map. Thank you Neenah!
- Wisconsin Highway Maps dating back to 1916 are available at the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation Website on the Official Wisconsin highway map page. The maps are available free for viewing and downloading.
The Fox Valley
- Fox Valley Memory: A treasure trove of links and information. Here you will find the both a pdf and text version of The History of Outagamie County Wisconsin, published in 1911 by Thomas Ryan.
- The Appleton Public Library Local History Collection has been digitized and put online as part of the State Wisconsin Collection at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections website: http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/WI/AppletonPlats.
- Included in this collection are many important books for researching here in the Valley including:
- Commemorative biographical record of the Fox River Valley counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago
- Record of the pioneers of Outagamie County, Wisconsin : also an appendix containing the minutes and records of the Pioneer Association since our annual meeting of 1895
- 1925 Appleton City Directory.
- Land of the Fox. Saga of the Fox Valley, published by the State Centennial Committee in 1949.
- Appleton Public Library – Appleton History: The https://apl.org/community/history page includes many links to explore including: Appleton Firsts, Appleton’s Founding, Historic Photos Index and much more.
- The 1925 Wright’s Appleton City Directory. This all important volume documents the street name and number changes that were made within the year.
- City of Appleton “My Neighborhood.” Are you preparing to create a house history? This is the go-to site for information regarding homes located within the city limits of Appleton.
- Riverside Cemetery has now been added to the http://www.burialsearch.com website. Check out how it maps the gravestones location of your ancestors.
- Kaukauna Public Library: Local History. Head here to learn more about Kaukauna history. As of today (17 Apr 2020) you can find Kaukauna Times obituaries from 1880-1959, and Kaukauna High School Yearbooks from 1916-1977, and so much more. Check it out.
- The Menasha Local History Collection has been digitized and put online as part of the State Wisconsin Collection at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections website.
- Menasha History: Change Over Time
- Historical & Architectural Resources Survey for the City of Menasha
- Neenah Public Library: The Genealogy and Local History is full of links for Neenah resources, including city directories fro 1900, 1905, and 1910.
- Oak Hill Cemetery: The City of Neenah has provided a searchable database for Oak Hill, which has been owned and maintained by the city of Neenah since 1848. The city announced a new updated online record system would be available in the second quarter of 2020. The new system is called Cemetery Information Management System, and can be accessed through the burialsearch.com website or through the city.
- The City of Neenah has overlaid the Historical 1884 Sanborn Map on top of a current map of Neenah, and it is available at their website.
- Neenah Historical Society webpage.
- Internet Archive provides a full text copy of
“A History of Neenah” by S. F. Shattuck, in addition to a full scan copy. The book “A History of Neenah” was published privately in 1958, in collaboration with the Neenah Historical Society.
- A fun website with images of Neenah: If These Walls Could Talk
- “In 1957, an Ordinance was adopted by the City of Oshkosh that resulted in extensive street name changes and house renumbering…” Here is a link to the changes.
- Fr. John Christopher Drumgoole and the St. Joseph’s Union
- City Directory Abbreviations. A listing of common abbreviations found in city directories.
Books. Here is a collection of free online books, or books available through your local Family History Center, that contain information about some of my ancestors, or the world in which they lived.
- Brown County, Wisconsin
- Centennial Jubilee of the Establishment of St. Francis Parish, Hollandtown, Wisconsin, 1848 – 1948 by J. G. De Vries, Pastor.
- Echoes from Andrew and Anna : The Gentle Cook Embrace, vol. 1, by Frederick and Kathryn Cook. www.familysearch.org, Family History Books. Access Rights: Protected. Title Number: 652090_01
- Echoes from Andrew and Anna : The Gentle Cook Embrace, vol. 2, by Frederick and Kathryn Cook. www.familysearch.org, Family History Books. Access Rights: Protected. Title Number: 652090_02
- A Genealogical Sketch of the Descendants of Andrew and Christina (Palmer) Cook 1769-1970 by John and Eileen (Shepherd) Houser
- Ancestors of John Toennessen and Anna Seidl Toennessen by Jeanne Anne Curry Zwaska
- History of Dane County, Wisconsin, by Consul Willshire Butterfield
- History of Outagamie County Wisconsin, Thomas H. Ryan, Editor in Chief
- Washington County, Wisconsin
- Washington County, Wisconsin: Past and Present by Carl Quickert